Researcher Makes a Case for Bringing Mobile Devices into the Classroom, Rather than Banning Them

April 7, 2018

What happens when a high school teacher decides to welcome cell phones into the classroom instead of banning them?

That was part of a yearlong experiment that Antero Garcia, now an assistant professor at Stanford Graduate School of Education(GSE), undertook several years ago while he was teaching ninth-grade English at South Central High School in Los Angeles.

Seeing how much his students relied on their smartphones to connect with each other, he began exploring ways to incorporate these and other devices into his teaching. He shares his experience in a new book, Good Reception: Teens, Teachers and Mobile Media in a Los Angeles High School...

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Embrace Multilingual Education - Children Will Benefit

April 7, 2018

By Viorica Marian

By the end of 2018, Google Assistant will support more than 30 languages. This shows the importance the private sector places on multilingual communication. Unfortunately, the U.S. education system lags behind in reflecting the value of a multilingual society.

Fifty years after the walkout by Latino students in Los Angeles protesting the lack of bilingual education, dual language learning remains inaccessible to many American children. This is despite the fact that one in four children in the U.S. speaks Spanish, a number that continues to grow

At the same time, 80 percent of adults in a nationwide survey agreed that children in the United States should learn a second language fluently before they finish high school...

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New Survey of Secondary Teachers Reveals Many Feel Unprepared to Teach their EL Students, and Lack Resources

April 7, 2018

In their recently released study, published on April 3, researchers Lucrecia Santibañez of Claremont Graduate University and Patricia Gándara of the UCLA Civil Rights Project, analyze data from a survey distributed among secondary teachers in a large urban school district  in order to examine how well prepared the teachers feel to teach English Learners. According to the report’s abstract:

“Across the nation, nearly all teachers can expect to have English Learner students in their classrooms. The challenges of teaching English Learners are particularly acute in the nation’s secondary schools. There is evidence suggesting that the preparation to teachers ELs is generally weak for all school levels, but more so for secondary school teachers...

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Survey: Educators Overwhelmingly Reject Arming Teachers, Support Commonsense Solutions to Reduce Gun Violence in Schools

March 23, 2018

Educators overwhelmingly reject proposals to arm teachers and other school personnel, according to a new poll commissioned by the National Education Association. NEA members support a range of commonsense solutions to address the issue of school shootings in the United States, but arming teachers is not one of them. NEA surveyed 1000 members nationwide from March 1 – 5, 2018.

The new NEA national member survey comes on the heels of a proposal by the Trump administration to arm teachers. Trump has appointed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to lead a Federal Commission on School Safety to study the issue...

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Nearly 150 Civil Rights and Education Groups to DeVos: Leave Discipline Guidance in Place

March 23, 2018

On March 22, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 145 local, state, and national civil and human rights and education groups sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos opposing any changes to or rescission of the 2014 school discipline guidance developed and released jointly by the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice.

The letter comes after DeVos’ testimony before a House Appropriations subcommittee where members of Congress questioned her commitment to the civil rights of children of color. The guidance describes schools’ obligations under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to administer discipline in a nondiscriminatory manner...

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CDE Issues Guidance on Possible Student Walkouts

March 9, 2018

(Editor’s note: On March 2, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the following guidance regarding possible student walkouts in response to recent school shooting incidents.)

School shootings are devastating for victims, survivors, and communities and increase fear for students, parents, and educators throughout the nation. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on February 14, 2018, as well as all victims of school shootings.

Some students may wish to show solidarity with the Florida victims by planning and taking part in walkouts on March 14, 2018. I applaud these students’ empathy and civic engagement and support the right of all students to exercise their First Amendment rights...

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“Teacher Stress is at an All-Time High... Stress Interferes with Quality Instruction in Several Ways”

March 9, 2018

(Editor’s note: Gun control, mental health, violence prevention, and the Second Amendment surged to the front lines of passionate national debate about what can or should happen in response to the Florida school massacre that left 17 dead. Patricia Jennings is an associate professor with the University of Virginia (UVA)’s Curry School of Education. She is an expert with extensive research on the effects of stress on teachers. In the following interview, Jennings answers questions from UVA Today writer Jane Kelly regarding teachers, stress at school and arming educators.)

Q. What does your research reveal about the level of stress in the teaching profession? 

A. Teacher stress is at an all-time high. Nearly 50 percent of teachers report high daily stress during the school year. This stress is caused by dwindling school budgets that impact their resources and salaries, growing numbers of students coming to school with challenging educational and behavioral problems, demanding parents and unsupportive administrations. On top of this, measures that apply untested and questionable accountability measures and reduce teacher autonomy and instructional creativity have resulted in dramatic reductions in job satisfaction and an increase in teacher burnout and turnover...

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PPIC: School Districts Face Challenges Implementing New K-12 Science Standards

March 9, 2018

Successful implementation of the state’s new K-12 science standards will likely call for revised high school graduation requirements and a stronger science focus in the early grades, according to a new report released on March 7 by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).

The report identifies major challenges districts have encountered since the introduction of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in 2013. It draws on a survey of unified and high school districts conducted at the end of the 2016-17 school year. It offers recommendations on how state and local policymakers can help districts implement California’s stronger science standards...

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CDE Announces New Social Emotional Learning Guidelines

February 24, 2018

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced on February 20 that the California Department of Education (CDE) has released new guiding principles for teaching social and emotional skills, a tool to help educators ensure students have the skills they need for success in school, careers, and in the community.

“Educators know, and the science confirms that learning is not only cognitive, but also social and emotional,” said Torlakson. “These principles are a part of a concentrated effort to improve teaching and learning of social and emotional skills by recognizing that students’ connection to what they are learning is a critical component of a quality education.”

The planning team, consisting of 35 educators throughout California, was created in the fall of 2016 as part of the Collaborating States Initiative, a multi-state learning community convened by the Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning...

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U.S. Dept. of Education Launches New English Learner Website

February 10, 2018

On January 29, the U.S. Department of Education launched a new interactive web page dedicated to data on English Learner students (ELs). The site uses colorful maps, bar graphs and charts to provide a clearer understanding of America's diverse ELs population in a “data story” format based on data from the Common Core of Data (CCD).The data story shows nearly every state has at least one school district where the EL population has increased by more than 50% since the 2010 school year and answers three main questions - Who are ELs? Where are ELs? And what languages do ELs speak?

The Data Story Includes...

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New Report Concludes Rural Student Population Left “Out of the Loop” By Schools

January 29, 2018

Nearly 20 percent of the country’s students are enrolled in rural schools, yet are not provided the same focus in national policy or research as students in urban and suburban school districts. “Out of the Loop,” a new report from the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA), Center for Public Education (CPE), finds that poverty, isolation and inequities are exacerbated for rural students by the lack of attention to the unique needs of this considerable student population.

While not equally distributed across the country, CPE’s analysis notes, approximately one-half of school districts, one-third of schools, and one-fifth of all students in the United States are in rural areas. Inadequate funding, lower literacy rates, and less access to advanced courses such as AP and STEM classes impact rural students’ achievement, creating significant barriers to their success...

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Friends’ Genes May Help Friends Stay in School, New Stanford Research Study Finds

By Brooke Donald - Rep: January 29, 2018

A new study by Assistant Professor Ben Domingue of the Stanford Graduate School of Education finds that the DNA of your peers may influence your own educational attainment.

While there’s scientific evidence to suggest that your genes have something to do with how far you’ll go in school, new research by a team from Stanford and elsewhere says the DNA of your classmates also plays a role.

“We examined whether the genes of your peer groups influenced your height, weight or educational attainment. We didn’t find a correlation to height or weight, but did find a small one with how far you go in school,” says Ben Domingue, assistant professor at Stanford Graduate School of Education and first author of the new paper, published online Jan. 9 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences...

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Thoughtful Classroom Assignment Can Enhance Outcomes

New Research Shows Teachers’ Physical Proximity Boosts Collaboration with Colleagues

By Laura Jimenez - Rep: January 15, 2018

Innovative new schools across the country are experimenting with building designs to increase student learning and teacher collaboration. But the majority of instructors in the United States teach in a more traditional setting – the “egg crate” design, consisting of long hallways lined with self-contained classrooms. In a new article for Education Next, James Spillane of Northwestern University and Matthew Shirrell of George Washington University report that even within the limitations of traditional school building design, thoughtful classroom assignments can promote beneficial teacher interactions. Teachers are far more likely to speak with one another about their practice when they are assigned to nearby classrooms.

In each year from 2010 through 2013, Spillane and Shirrell surveyed all instructional staff from 14 elementary schools comprising one Midwestern suburban school district about their work-related interactions, school perceptions, and background information...

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